As this is my first piece for The Adventurous Gentleman, I feel like it should a tale of why the concept of AG caught my attention and lead me to inquire about becoming a contributor and what message I would like to share. As a Colorado native, I grew up exploring my state,as I had very outdoorsy parents. I was exposed to camping, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, playing sports, canoeing, fishing, hunting, photography and all the various stereotypical activities Colorado has to offer. Each activity providing its own enjoyment in its own unique way, therefore it carried over into my adult life.
At this point I imagine you are wondering who this man called Jack is. Well Jack is why the idea and concept of The Adventurous Gentleman really resonated with me. What does the word gentleman mean to you? What does being a man today entail? A huge part of my life is involved in the outdoor/backcountry/hunting industry. A lot of passion as well as my career are in this field. I feel I have a unique insight into how hunting and the perception of hunting has changed during the 20 years it has been a part of my life. The modern man has much to navigate, we will start with social media. Social media allows a person to present the best version of themselves to the world, honestly it might not even be a version of themselves, but a created persona for who they want to be in other’s eyes, The Tyler Durden if you will. (If you don’t get that reference, well we can’t talk about it). Staying with the example of hunting, what is considered cool now is to be the hunter athlete, the alpha, stoic, strong, taking on the backcountry and conquering the mountain.
Now this where we meet Jack. I am not only just those things listed above because I am a hunter, I do not always eat clean, lift in the morning, shoot and hike in the afternoon, then tune my bow before I hop on Google Earth to find more elk spots. I exist in a world where there are numerous things I enjoy or have to do as part of my life; cooking, playing board/ card games with friends, going out drinking and dancing, yoga, concerts, yard work, automotive work, and sometimes being lazy and doing nothing at all. I am Jack. We have all heard the term “jack of all trades, master of none”. I love doing so many things and diving into each one of my activities and geeking out about it, learning all that I can, putting the same dedication into every interest I pursue. To me, being a man isn’t putting yourself in a box identifying as one “person”. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have that passion about something, anything! Being a man to me is exploring all the bits and pieces of who you are and experiencing as much as you can, while having the mindset to do your absolute best at everything you put your hands on.
A jack of all trades can make or break certain scenarios. A few years back my father and I were going on our annual Spring turkey hunt in Southern Colorado. After driving for a few hours after work, we pulled into camp in the dark. We began getting organized and getting the pop up camper in the back of the pickup ready for the 5 days we would be there. As we readied everything one of us hit the switch on the water pump to pressurize the tank, so we could use the sink. We heard a spray of water under the sink and quickly turned it off. We came to find the outlet from the water heater was broken on its way to the faucet. We never use the water heater, only the cold side of the faucet to boil water on the stove. So our problem wasn’t that we couldn’t get hot water, it was that we couldn’t pressurize the tank to get any water from it. We always carry various parts and pieces to fix most things on the truck or in the camper, however we had no plumping supplies to close off the outlet to the water heater. After problem solving and thinking through various possibilities, our solution was to use a plastic bag rubber banded over the outlet as a gasket and the lid from the hand soap as a stop cap. Our ability to think outside the box and creatively use the supplies at hand allowed us to continue our trip and hunt for the 5 days.
A second story that comes to mind is last summer while scouting. I love eating mushrooms, so I have learned a handful of edible ones that are in the areas I like to hunt. Learning about mycology and botany has allowed me to feed myself in nature and because I am hunting animals that live in this environment it has allowed me to look at the landscape differently because I have a new perspective on how they use the habitat for food. I found an area that was covered in Boletus edulis so I was able to take a few for dinner. I suspected elk would be in the area because they eat the mushroom as well. Sure enough I was able to find more mushrooms that elk had taken bites from and class up animals in that area of the basin the next morning.
These are two examples of how having knowledge and skills in various areas overlap and allow for success. Well maybe not always success but keeps you from failure which in my opinion is always a success. When you know a little bit about everything, you can do a lot in every scenario.
I hope you will follow along on my journey of being a man in 2018, hopefully headed towards the idea of a gentleman. One thing I can promise you, is there won’t be a lack of adventure.
- Author – Cory Arola